Apologies for having fallen off the map slightly in the update world! I thought that I would give you a brief rundown of what we’ve been up to and where we’ve been!
December 10: Kumargaht- Unakoti- Dharmanagar
This was our first stop in the state of Tripura and on the train down you are right on the boarder of Bangladesh! We had a friend of our hotel host drive us to the ancient sight of Unakoti first thing in the morning. We spent a few hours walking through the lush green, stair filled valley examining the massive rock-cut sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses. Most of the sculptures date back to the 7th century.
December 11: Silchar- Shillong
We spent a couple days in Shillong before making our way back to Guwahati. Shillong is the capital city of the state of Meghalaya that is located in the hills that separate the Assam valley from the plains of Bangladesh. After having a few failed attempts of finding available accommodation, we settled down at Magnum Hotel in the city centre. We went for a walk around Ward’s Lake, afternoon beers at the fancy and historical Pinewood Hotel, got denied entry into the governmental gardens, went to the fabulous (and gigantic) Don Bosch Museum of Indigenous Cultures and had great meals at the Eee Cee Hotel. We thought about making the 2+ hour trip to Cherrapunjee, the wettest place on earth, but as we are from Vancouver decided that it was not a necessity to see for obvious reasons.
December 15: Guwahati- NJP- Darjeeling
Another successful night train from Guwahati to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) brought us one step closer to the long awaited Darjeeling! Our initial plan was to get the Steam Toy Train up through the mountains, but as expected, by the time we got there the train was full and was about to head off. We waited 15 minutes to watch the train leave without us. Slight disappointment at first, but there are plenty of sumo vehicles making the trip up the mountainous daily. Another plus is that vehicles make the trip up in 2-2 1/2 hours, whereas the Toy Train takes 7 hours. We quickly hopped in one and set off on another winding road. You can immediately feel the temperature drop as you approach the city and throughout our time there we were all thankful for multiple layers and down jackets. I’ve always been intrigued by the Himalayas and seeing them (along with an eventual trek) were/are absolutely on my bucket list. When Kangchenjunga came into view for the first time I was almost emotional! It was surreal. I’m definitely looking forward to my future adventure there. Once in Darjeeling, we walked up up up as high as we could go to a view point, met an adorable puppy as well as managed to get separated and spend a good chunk of time waiting or looking for one another. Funny thing is that it was because of the aforementioned adorable puppy that we split, but I can’t be expected to pay attention to what direction people are going in when there is a cute animal nearby! We drank A LOT of tea and went for a joy ride on the steam toy train that was the perfect amount of time.
Another night train brought us to Kolkata for a day before our flight out to the Andaman Islands. Our day in Kolkata was mainly downtime, but we went for a walk through the busy streets and enjoyed a rare pizza dinner. The walk was enough for us to feel the effects of the polluted air on our Beautiful British Colombia lungs.
December 21: Port Blair
We have been joined by my friend Matt from home and are awaiting the arrival of my dad who is selflessly joining my mom and I for Christmas in the Andaman’s! It is apparently rare for tourists to stay in Port Blair for more than a day, but we are sticking around to get to know the place. They usually go straight to Havelock Island where the nicer beaches are, but we are having a great time here. We have taken advantage of the public bus system, local ferries to the small neighbouring islands (Chatham and over to Bambooflat) as well as our own two feet! We went for a drive up Mount Harriet in Bambooflat and were able to see the exact spot that is depicted on the 20 rupee note! There are beautiful paths along the seafront, similar to Stanley Park, just more tropical. Although it is the city, it still manages to be absolutely stunning. We have a tuktuk driver, Sudaven (mumbling “superman” also works) that is very keen on helping us explore and plan our time. I mean, come to your hotel everyday to see what you have planned kind of help. Clingy would describe it well. We’ve been breaking his heart lately as we have chosen to walk everywhere. It’s funny how tuktuk drivers don’t understand why you would want to just walk. They look at you like you’re crazy sometimes. Today we walked to Corbyn’s Cove and had a lovely beach side lunch at Peerliss Resort. No sign of the legendary sea crocodiles yet and we’re keeping our distance from Sentinel Island!